Tony Hunter, PhD, FAACR, to receive AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research

Tony Hunter, PhD, FAACR, will be awarded the 19th AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research during the Annual Meeting. Hunter will present his award lecture at 4:30 p.m. CDT Sunday, April 10, in Room 265-268 at the convention center.

Tony Hunter, PhD
Tony Hunter, PhD, FAACR

Hunter is American Cancer Society Professor and Renato Dulbecco Chair at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He is being honored for the discovery of protein tyrosine phosphorylation as a common cellular mechanism capable of contributing to cellular growth and proliferation and, in some cases, the development of cancer. Hunter’s discovery led to the development of more than 50 tyrosine and serine kinase inhibitors and has firmly established a new class of targeted cancer therapies.

Following his seminal discovery that tyrosine residues in proteins are phosphorylated by specific kinases, Hunter has focused his research on dissecting the role of post-translational modification of proteins in controlling cell growth and proliferation. Because of Hunter’s innovative work, aberrant regulation of tyrosine kinases is now widely accepted as a critical hallmark of cancer.

Hunter identified one of the critical switches required to initiate normal cell proliferation and demonstrated that this tyrosine kinase switch is frequently and permanently activated in cancer cells. This groundbreaking work subsequently transformed the field of anticancer drug discovery, ultimately leading to the development of many effective tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as imatinib, and their approval as first-line treatments for several cancers.

“Dr. Hunter’s pivotal research has revolutionized our understanding of cancer biology and has led to extraordinary progress in the improved care of patients with cancer,” said AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc). “We are deeply grateful for his monumental contributions to cancer research and are proud to honor him with this special award.”

The AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research was established in 2004 to honor individuals who have made significant fundamental contributions to cancer research, either through a single scientific discovery or a collective body of work. These contributions, whether in research, leadership, or mentorship, must have had a lasting impact on the cancer field and must have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress against cancer.